Could the Minnesota Twins make a trade for Texas Rangers veteran lefty Cole Hamels? What would it cost?
This trade season, the Minnesota Twins are in a conundrum. The team is in contention via its record, and certainly to appease fans, the team wouldn’t want to throw in the white flag until it was certain that there was no chance to make the postseason. However, the Twins are also in the midst of a rebuilding process that they do not want to upset in order to acquire a short-term piece for a run this season.
We at Puckett’s Pond will be looking at a number of the trade candidates that the Minnesota Twins may be pursuing over the next few weeks ahead of the July 31st trade deadline. Today’s highlight will feature a guy that has been in the Twins’ cross hairs before.
Cole Hamels, LHP, Texas Rangers
Hamels was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the 2002 draft as the 17th overall selection out of high school in San Diego. He moved quickly through the minor leagues, throwing 23 starts and 132 1/3 innings with the major league club in 2006 at age 22.
Hamels quickly became one of the major pieces of the Phillies rotation during their most successful time in the franchise’s history in the late 2000s. At just 24 years old, he was the MVP of both the 2008 NLCS and World Series.
Hamels joined together with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee to form a dynamic trio at the front of the Phillies rotation in 2011, but that was the last effective season for Halladay and soon Lee’s health would become an issue as well while the rest of the Phillies core of players began to age quickly as well. The Phillies began to rebuild their roster after the 2014 season. In the middle of 2015, Hamels was traded to the Texas Rangers for a deal that included a reliever also going to the Rangers in exchange for 6 players going back to the Phillies.
Hamels was an All-Star in 2016 with the Rangers in his first full season in the organization as the team had the best record in the American League. He has arguably pitched even better in 2017, though he has missed time with an oblique injury, posting a 3.05 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 59 innings.
Why the Twins would be interested
If Hamels does not clear 180 innings this season, it will be the first time since 2007 that he misses that mark as one of the most durable, consistent starters for over a decade in the game. On top of that, he’s consistent with excellent to elite performance from the left side.
There are two issues that could be of concerns for the Minnesota Twins – 1) Hamels is 33, and 2) he is owed a share of $23.5M this year, the same amount in 2018, and has a vesting option in 2019 that comes in at $20M. In comparison, only Joe Mauer on the Twins even makes $20M in 2018, and he’s a free agent in 2019, with no one on the team making within $10M of Hamels in 2018 or within $7M in 2019 on the current payroll.
In spite of that salary, Hamels would offer the Twins a consistent, steady veteran to lead the rotation, and especially to mentor Adalberto Mejia and/or Stephen Gonsalves into the rotation, provided they are not part of the deal
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The cost for Hamels would be entirely dependent on how much of his salary that the team wanted to pick up. If the Twins were paying the entire salary, I would imagine that the cost in prospects would be lower than if the team was asking Texas to pick up some portion of the salary.
With no salary picked up, I would imagine opening a deal with a pair of the group of Adalberto Mejia, Felix Jorge, Mitch Garver, Zack Granite, Kennys Vargas, or other near-ready/MLB-ready players would be the starter pieces with a guy like Lewis Thorpe or Jermaine Palacios being the 3rd piece of the deal.
If Texas is picking up salary, I would imagine that first group would need to include one of Fernando Romero, Nick Gordon, or Stephen Gonsalves OR the lower-level piece would be a more prominent name like a Wander Javier or Lewin Diaz.
What do you think about this type of deal? Would you want to bring in Hamels to be a veteran lefty in the rotation? Would you prefer to trade a different package of players to make it happen if so? Comment below!!